Guest Post: Michelle. Oasis Center

I have known Jimmie for a while now and have been a big fan of her blog. I’m so excited for her and her challenge of writing 50,000 words this month. (Editor’s Note:  I am SO FAR behind.  I’m going to make it but no one is allowed to be mad at me if I don’t answer the phone when you call. I have to type my little fingers off to catch up.)  I have to say, I was honored to be included in the list of folks she asked to be guest bloggers. I have a baby blog (Oh, not a blog about babies, rather it’s only 2 months old). I write about my art (so if Jimmie wants to share the link, I’d love for you to check it out) (Editor’s Note:  Of course I do!  Studio B – she’s super talented.)  so it’s more visual than wordy. And I was humbled to find out that Jimmie likes my writing, which coming from her, someone who writes well and will have published books out there one day, means a lot! Yes, I said it, I believe Jimmie will be published in the near future and I already made her promise to sign copies of the books I purchase!  (Editor’s Note:  You see why I love her?)

Anyhow, since I’m new to blogging and I want to do her proud, I had some questions about length of the post and topic. She suggested I write about another one of my passions. I volunteer for the Oasis Center here in Nashville and I just passed my 2 year anniversary in September. If you’re not familiar with Oasis, we are an agency that serves youth in need in the area.

I have to backtrack a bit to tell you about how I came to volunteering and even what it is that I do. I work for a local University and one of my programs focuses on moral and ethical leadership in the professions. Part of my job is managing a group of Fellows made up of students from the professional schools on campus. To participate in the fellowship, the students work on a year- long interdisciplinary project using their areas of expertise and leadership skills to help a non-profit agency with whatever their particular need might be. For example, a few years ago, a group of Fellows worked with the Oasis Center to build a community garden and program around cooking with and eating fresh vegetables. It was quite a success and to my knowledge, the garden is still there and being used. At the time, I had not heard of the Oasis Center so one afternoon when I was there to deliver some books (part of the program included resource books) for their library, I had a chance to chat with one of the resident counselors about the work they do. Long story short, I decided that I wanted to volunteer with them. So, I turned in my application, waited for the back ground check, and then was able to meet with their fantastic volunteer coordinator (who incidentally is now a student in the school where I work).

At the time, I thought I wanted to work with the young folks who live in the Loft. These are formerly homeless youth who have the opportunity to get back on their feet while living in the Loft for up to 20 months. However, there weren’t any positions available at the time so it was suggested that I join the Street Outreach team. So, in September 2010, I began volunteering as an outreach person. And then, at the end of October, my dad suddenly passed away. For those of you who have lost someone dear to you, you can imagine how crazy that period of time is. I took off all of November from Outreach. I was so lost, but returning to Outreach provided moments of time when I could concentrate on something other than the pain of this loss. So when I went back out with my outreach partner in December, I was thankful that the small interactions with people was all that was required with me because I didn’t think I had it in my heart to try to build relationships with the youth living in the Loft at the time. Little did I know that I would still be building relationships no matter what I was doing.

Ok, so you might be wondering what is Street Outreach. Good question, cause I didn’t know either. It’s described on the website as a dedicated staff person and volunteer who pair up to walk the streets of downtown Nashville so homeless youth know there is a place for them to turn to for help. I’m not sure that description really captures the experience. So, I will try to paint you a picture.

My volunteer nights are the 1st and 3rd Friday of the month. I meet my partner at the center at 7:00pm (year round and I’ve been out in the rain, the snow and the heat cause homeless folks don’t get a day off for weather) and we pack 2 shopping bags a piece with socks, snacks, shirts (hoodies and blankets in the winter, water bottles in the summer) and then grab a back pack each before signing out (safety is a big priority) and heading downtown.

We have certain areas of downtown that we cover each week. We (carefully) approach folks and ask if they want a pair of socks. I have a confession to make. I’m not a fan of socks. I hate having my feet covered. In fact, even though it’s chilly right now, I don’t have any socks on. But I never realized how important they are to folks who are on their feet all day, who don’t have the opportunity to bathe regularly, who wear the same pair of shoes day in and out. One of the first times I was out, we came across a young man sitting at a bus bench with a suitcase. He was accompanied by a friend. I offered him a pair of socks and he burst into tears. The pair had just gotten into town, the young man had gotten away from a bad situation and the act of kindness from a stranger overwhelmed him. We were able to direct him to our facility (during the week they run a drop in service where youth can get a meal, a shower, clean clothes and some services if needed). I don’t know what ever happened to him or if he’s ever thought about that moment again, but I still remember him. That my tiny act of kindness made a difference in his life for a moment.

We don’t only hand out items to young folks. We give to anyone who needs. And that’s where some of those relationships are being built. Folks look out for youth and they let us know when new young people are in town or they direct them to our facility. It’s quite a community out there. And I’m proud to be a very small part of it.

(Editor’s Note:  There are so many organizations in Nashville for lending a helping hand.  I’ve wanted to feature other things here but only know what I do so I’m happy to have this information for you.  I’m sure that Michelle would also be happy to answer any questions on her favorites – check out her blog for an email addy.)

Cheers, Michelle

 

Guest Post: Esteban. Books And Bars.

I know the words in the title don’t seem to go together, but they do for me as I am both a Librarian and a bartender. My name is Esteban, and I know Jimmie through my wife who is called Jonquil on this blog. (Editor’s Note:  This was Esteban.)  I know Jimmie certainly likes books, but she has less of an appreciation of alcoholic beverages, although I do recall seeing a bottle of wine in her fridge when we visited last. (Editor’s Note: He recalls seeing it because I made him open it so that I could cook something with it.  Oh, that cork was a bear.  But he got it open and I used precisely one quarter cup of it and then it sat in my fridge until it went bad.  Rowdy is what I am.)

In an effort to give this blog some class, I was ordered volunteered to try to help Jimmie with her need for guest bloggers. Hopefully, it will be entertaining enough to be selected by the lady with the big, sexy hair. (Editor’s Note:  Congratulations, Esteban!  You made the cut.)

Working in a large, public library in an urban area, I have seen the rise of people like Jimmie who enjoy reading their books on their various electronic devices. It’s not the death-knell for libraries as some thought it would be, since libraries are the best places to get your free, downloadable books. My library is alive and well and helping more and more people, especially during the last few years with the recession and people turning to the library for free entertainment and job searching information.

I’ve often thought Jimmie would be a perfect library employee – so outgoing and helpful. I know what you’re thinking: How can somebody so loud and with such big, sexy hair work in a library? Don’t believe the stereotype of librarians as being old ladies with their gray hair in a bun shushing everybody. My library is fairly loud and full of young people working there, some with a fair amount of tattoos. Jimmie’s personality would fit right in. She would have to deal with the large number of mentally-unstable people that come through the doors. (Editor’s Note:  Was this a compliment?  I’m not sure it was a compliment.)  There are many homeless and other disadvantaged people who seek shelter in the library. Some people I’ve dealt with over the years are the woman who always checked out books on alien abductions who claimed she was frequently abducted herself; a man who complained about somebody continuing to “zap” his chair; and my wife’s favorite is the guy who rubbed the magazine all over his body because he enjoyed the cologne insert that was in the magazine.  (Editor’s Note:  Men, do not do this.  It’s weird.)

I could also picture Jimmie working as a bartender where her “assets” would be very helpful. (Editor’s Note:  He means my hair.  Doesn’t he?)  While I work at a private club now, I have worked other places where the regulars were colorful characters. Again, Jimmie would fit right in. Her knowledge of wine might have to improve if she wants to work in a finer establishment, though.  (Editor’s Note:  What?  I could totally work in a finer establishment.) 

You know, more people are learning to appreciate wine, and it is losing its once-snobby reputation. However, the people who write descriptions of wine apparently have not gotten the memo. Here’s an excerpt of one description I read recently: “demure aromas of black fruits with a note of cigar box and tarry oak.” A note of cigar box? Do I want to drink that? Here’s another excerpt: “enticing scents of dark Queen Anne cherries, sawdust and sandalwood” which is apparently “a delight to drink.” Maybe it’s for shop class.  (Editor’s Note:  Pft.  I can do better than that!  “This wine, it tastes like barf.  You don’t want that.  And this one?  It tastes vaguely of how cat urine smells.  It ought to go great with your sushi and side of onions.” Finer establishment, here I come!) I don’t know that much about wine, but the wine writers must be drinking quite a lot of what they’re reviewing. 

Raise your glasses to Jimmie! Best of luck to you in your literary efforts!

Guest Post: Madre. Shopping, “Jimmie-isms” And Things I Have Learned From My Daughter

Let me begin by saying that I am the lucky Mom…..Jimmie has been an absolute delight since the day she was born and she is also one of my very best friends.  As such, I have plenty of stories about her.

As friends will do, we love to go SHOPPING.  I call Jimmie my “personal shopper.”  When she is with me she will grab a shirt out of someone’s hands if she thinks it is just right for me.  I was witness to this in TJ Maxx one day; thankfully the shirt she grabbed was in the hands of a sales clerk and not another shopper that we had to bloody well beat unconscious to have it for our own.  We can spend hours in dressing rooms trying on things we will never buy, but have fun looking at ourselves in the mirrors and deciding how many pounds to lose before something would be totally flattering.  She has taught me to be a patient shopper and to ALWAYS take time to try something on before just thinking it will be a perfect fit and look like something out of a fashion magazine.

As Mother and Daughter we are very much alike, including height (almost) and size so we often end up with matching items because it looked soooo good on one of us.  I take full credit for Jimmie’s love of shopping.  It all started when she was five years old.  I had picked up Jimmie and her sister from daycare on my way home from work and we decided to have sandwiches for supper.  This required a stop at the local Thrifty Bread Store close to our apartment.  We had been there several times so I knew Jimmie knew her way around. I sent her in by her little, young, five year old self to get a loaf of bread.  I gave her a dollar and asked her to get a loaf like we always purchased and take it to the clerk and give her the dollar, but be sure to wait for the change.  Jimmie proudly came back to the car with bread and change and a confident sense of accomplishment.  I beamed with pride!!  The following day as we were on our way home Jimmie asked:  “Do we need to stop by the Used Bread Store again?”  She was ready for more independent shopping!!

The Used Bread Store brings me to “Jimmie-isms.”  As a child (and sometimes rolling into adulthood) Jimmie has tagged some unusual “isms” in which she makes up a new phrase or word to describe something: 

A Pair of Clothes – Why not?  It’s a top and a bottom like shorts and t-shirt, like a pair of socks or a pair of shoes…stuff that comes in twos.

A Tree of Grapes – Don’t pull the grapes off the stem for her. Break off a branch and let her do the work.

Makercial – The interruption of a television program that tries to sell you something.  But also, the perfect time to run to the fridge for ice cream before the program comes back on.

Navy Green – Best I can figure is this a dark green color, perhaps something like navy blue.

There are more, but I leave them to your imagination and continue with things I have learned from Jimmie.  I’ll tell you next about WALKING.  After Jimmie moved to Nashville, I joined her one weekend for a walk on The Greenway (the whole 6 miles).  I consider myself an active and reasonably athletic person.  I live on a farm, work daily with horses, put up hay, etc.  But…she walked my legs off.  I decided then and there to map out some mileage on our rural country roads and do some dedicated walking.  My goal is 15 miles a week and I usually meet that goal and sometimes go over. 

Next, Jimmie introduced me to organized 5Ks.  I’ve always been a competitive person (horse shows, racing SCCA, target shooting, hunting, both fox {Tally Ho} and big game), so 5Ks fit right in. I’m proud to say at the age of 69, I was the fastest in the 60+ age group in my second ever competition.  Recently this required another shopping trip with Jimmie for new shoes; I’d worn the tread off my first pair.

Along with exercise, Jimmie has encouraged DIET.  After years of feeding a family of six through childhood and teenage years (ever wonder how many times a teenager can open and close a refrigerator door in one day?), it was a challenge to prepare meals for just two.  It was also a challenge not to eat all the leftovers (oh, those extra pounds) as I was cleaning up after a meal.  Just a spoonful here and a little bit there, not enough to save and too good to throw away.  After all, I was raised by parents who grew up in Depression years….waste not, want not….clean your plate, etc.  Jimmie is very conscientious about diet and food preparation, and again I love to grocery shop with her.  She has not only given me great recipes, she somehow let me know that it was okay to throw away the “extras.”  I’m not really wasting anything if it can be fed to the dog, cat or chickens and we do have a rural garbage pick-up once a week.  Thanks to my wonderful daughter I’m 37 pounds lighter and can’t wait for the next 5K.

In closing this guest post I’ll add a few things that make me proud to say I am Jimmie’s Madre.  She has so much compassion, a tender heart and the desire to keep those around her happy.  Her intelligence and work ethics are amazing and she will face the most difficult tasks with a sense of humor.  (I’d love to know her “come-back” when Boss called her a Low Functioning Retard — I think they had a great time working together).  And lastly, have you ever met anyone else who really loved the research and creating of Term Papers while in college?

GOD bless you, Jimmie.

(Editor’s Note:  I did not pay Madre a dime to say those nice things about me.  Also, my only comeback for Boss was “I hate your guts” and “I know I’m your favorite”.  I could possibly use some suggestions.  Anyone got any?) 

(Another Editor’s Note:  I’ve written over 10,000 words so far.  Y’all, this is work.)

 

Guest Post: Boss

Hello folks, its Boss. I have known and worked with Jimmie for a long time and she has graciously offered to let me expound a few thoughts. (Editor’s Note:  Oh, goodie!)

As you may or may not know, I have made a career out of being a handyman. Not the kind that Jimmie constantly needs to fix the niggling stuff around her house. No, my job is to basically fly around the country (sometimes the world) and fix things. Sometimes it is a project, sometimes it is a client relationship, sometimes it is an employee and sometimes it is the whole company culture (particularly when run by a CEO with no experience, no maturity, no eggs, and, inexplicably, an ego the size of Tennessee). (Editor’s Note:  Perhaps Boss is talking about the last company we worked for, the one that let me go.  Or, perhaps not.)  The fixes vary from item to item, and it is my job to figure out a fix that is most advantageous to all parties. It’s a job that requires a lot of independence, a lot of flexibility and a little luck (or as Jimmie would have you believe, a charmed life).

All of those things are threaded together with literally millions of frequent flier miles and hours of time spent on airplanes and in airports.  One thing that I have noticed is that the vast majority of the American travelling public is completely ignorant of the basics of air travel. As a PSA, I would like to take a little time to offer some helpful tips that, when used, will make the flying experience better for all of us.

1.  Thanks to the advent of terrorism, you will be going through a metal detector prior to boarding your plane.  The metal detector’s sole purpose is to make a loud annoying noise when a metallic object is passed through it. When this happens, the line comes to a screeching halt, the security agent (typically taking a semester off from Harvard rocket scientist school to recharge) asks you to devoid yourself of metal, then pass through again.  This is repeated until no metal is detected.  Knowing this should help you when you get dressed in the morning.  Believe it or not, it is not necessary to travel with metal snuff can lids, belt buckles the size of dinner plates, pocket knives, railroad spikes or other miscellaneous metals.  Yes, your cell phone will set off the alarm; put it on the belt prior to walking through the device.  No, your newspaper, book, and money that folds will not set it off; walk on through confidently.  No, once you get to your destination, you will not be driving your car; therefore there is no reason to carry a wad of keys bigger than a Toyota.  Hey, here’s an idea, put them in your briefcase.  Yes, if you are wearing as much jewelry as Mr. T, the alarm will go off. No, you don’t need to stop immediately on the other side of the detector if it doesn’t go off. Keep moving and get the hell out of the way. Yes, I realize that there is a chance a loaded pallet will fall out of the overhead bin and onto your foot, but the odds are low, so you probably won’t need those steel toed boots. Speaking of shoes, you will have to take them off so don’t come to the airport wearing elaborately buttoned boots that take 45 minutes to take off. And guess what – if you go outside the secure area, you have to go through the process all over again.

2.  If you have a boarding pass, you don’t have to check in at the gate.  Get out of line, sit down and shut up.  Yes there is a size limitation on what you can carry on, so no you can’t carry on that body bag.  Yes, your purse counts as one of your two allowable carry-ons.  Now, believe it or not, it does you no good to huddle up at the front of the hold room as you are waiting to board.  All you are doing is clogging up the entry and forcing a physical confrontation with the people who board before you.  (Editor’s Note:  Boss only wants a physical confrontation with you if you are a hottie female. All others, move out of the way.)  Yes, they are going to board by zone and, if you ask nicely, some friendly person can likely read your zone to you from your boarding pass so you can figure out what zone you are in.  Wait for that zone to be called.  Don’t get up until then.

3.  Look at your seat number prior to getting on the aircraft.  If your seat is in row 34, don’t stop three steps into the aircraft and start squinting at the row numbers.  Move quickly to your seat, sit down and shut up.  Hey, if your damn carry-on is too heavy for you to lift it into the overhead bin by yourself, check it.  (Editor’s Note:  I once heard Boss say this to a lady on a plane.  He wasn’t kidding.)  And guess what – if you board the plane 30 seconds prior to the door closing looking like the Beverly Hillbillies moving west, don’t get pissy when you can’t find overhead bin space.  Give your bags to the flight attendant so they can be checked, then (yes, you guessed it) sit down, and shut up. When you get to your row, don’t park your big butt in the aisle and spend a half hour rummaging through your luggage looking for books, games, cough drops, money, a clue, or any other nonsense.  Stow your carry ons and sit down.

4.  Believe it or not, I am not interested in your life story.  (Editor’s Note:  He really isn’t.)  I really don’t care that the last time you flew the airplane had two sets of wings and the highlight of the trip was “buzzing sheep”.  Nor do I care that you are on the way to visit Aunt Millie, a woman who would make Lil Abner look like Charles Boyer.  The airplane gets plenty of lift from the airflow over the wings and doesn’t need the help of all your hot air.  Let’s take the chance and see if it will fly without your constant inane droning.  When I pull out my laptop, that is your clue that I have better things to do.  Shut up and go to sleep. 

With these few simple concepts in mind, all of our flying experiences can be so much more enjoyable.   You will be able to fly with the confidence that you know what you are doing, and I will get to my meeting without working up a sweat caused by my clubbing you like a baby seal.

(Editor’s Note:  See why it made me sad to leave him?  I got all that, every day.)

 
 

Adios, Amoebas! (Or, Tying Up Loose Ends Before I Leave For A Month)

Well, guys, this will be my final post before leaving for a month.  I’m going to miss you.  I wonder how many times I’ll want to make fun of myself over the next 30 days when I won’t be able to share here.  I’ll try to save them up for my 30 days of blogging in December.

I will check in periodically to post my guest slots and to give you updates on my word count.  50,000 is the goal.  To know me is to know my love of words so you know I can reach the count.  Let’s just hope they make sense.  You know, I signed up for NaNoWriMo two years ago.  I wrote 250 words on November 1, 2010 and then got a phone call from a friend.  We started talking about boys and that was all she wrote, literally.  NaNoWriMo was dead to me.   

Oh, I chose a football team!  I know you’ve all been waiting to hear that.  It took me a while. I had lots of input from you and most especially from Coach, who taught me how to look at stats and how to look up helmets and logos.  What really helped me, though, was Martie.  She said, “You can’t be a fair weather fan.  You pick a team and you support them through the good and the bad.  No waffling and changing to the team that plays better.”  And then Coach chimed in with the same advice.  He’s a long time Alabama fan and a longtime Cowboys fan, rabid even through the lean years.  So, okay.  I have no choice but to be a Titans fan.  Nashville is mine.  The Titans are mine.  They play like doody most of the time, and even though the lean years will last for ages, I will support them.  I was never more proud in all my life than when they beat the Lions and then the Steelers (!).  I realized I really want them to do well.  So call me a Titan. The end.

Except it isn’t.  I also have a secondary team.  I just can’t seem to get over the Ram’s horns.  Seriously.  Those helmets with the horns just slay me, and so those of you who lecture me about perpetuating the stereotype, get over it.  I picked a team because of a helmet that turns me on.  At least I didn’t pick a team because of a hot guy.  For the record, I also read the team’s history and would like to share with you that they were the first  NFL team to add a logo to their helmet (swoon) and also the first NFL team to add black teammates after the WWII era.  Suck on that, haters! (And also, while I’m being Fickle Fanny over here, I really want to see the Texans win the Super Bowl.  The longhorns!  Those uniforms!  It’s Texas, y’all.  I am moved.) (And yes, I realize that the Texans were not even on my nominated list but I hadn’t seen the logo yet.  I had no idea . . .)

And just because I can, because you expect it, and because this is me we are talking about:  

Hottie Titan

Hottie Ram

Hottie Texan

I haven’t talked about my dinners with my seniors in a while either.  I had dinner with them last week and as per usual, had a blast.  I love those people so much.  I want to tell you about a couple more of them.  JoAnne, who has only been two or three times, just embarrasses me to death every time she attends.  She’s adorable. She wears a fall (a chunk of hair you attach to your head to make you look like you have more hair) or a funky hat every time and so you look at her and think, “Well, isn’t she cute. Full of spunk, that one.”  And then she opens her mouth and proves it and you could just slam your forehead into the butter dish, you are so horrified. 

“NO! I don’t want a SALAD!  I have GALL BLADDER issues!  Take it AWAY!“

“This is the WORST coffee I have ever tasted!  I can make better at home! BRING ME more sugar!”

“Those CHILDREN need to be SPANKED!  My meal is RUINED!”

I can honestly say that I agree with her in nearly every instance but I prefer to keep my opinions if not to myself, at least confined to the guests at my table.  Not JoAnne.  Everyone knows where she stands.

The other person I want to tell you about is Bob.  Bob has only missed maybe one or two dinners the whole time I’ve been doing this.  He’s in his 60s, I guess.  He’s never been married.  He purchased his house in one lump sum, no payments, ever.  He’s terrified of being late and being left behind.  He ends every sentence with an “uh?” 

“Hey, Jimmie-uh?  Do I have enough-uh money-uh for dessert? Uh?”  He brings $28 to every dinner and we figure out what he can have for that price and still leave a fair tip.  He’s the gentlest soul and I love him.  He was the first of the group to realize that I knew how to work a standard cell phone and so asked me to program some numbers in for him.  Now we all spend the first ten minutes of every dinner shuffling phones back and forth to me so that I can clear out voice mails and add contacts.  Once a month everyone gets squared away.

I probably have so many other things to share but I’m out of space and time.  A whole month.  What will you do without me?

For those of you who are helping me this month, THANK YOU!  Boss, Prom Date Will, Jonquil, Esteban, Woney, and Studio Bukowski – thank you!  Boss and Esteban have already sent goodies over and I just hee hawed.  I cannot wait to read and post your stuff.  Anyone else in?  I still have a full grown cat up for grabs. 

NaNoWriMo And Other Assorted Nonsense

I got a catalog in the mail yesterday from Heifer International.  I’m going to let you marinate on that for a minute before commenting further. 

. . . . . . . . elevator muzak . . . . . . . . . .

I choose to believe that someone sent that catalog to me because they admire all the good deeds I do and wanted to help me further my philanthropic spirit rather than believe that someone sent it to me as a subtle hint. 

Actually, its pretty cool. You should check it outHeifer International.  Family, do not be surprised if you get a “share of a goat” for Christmas.

Madre was here last weekend to walk a 5K with me.  It was the Oktoberfest Bier Run in which loads of people turned out to trot around Germantown for the privilege of drinking free beer at 9:00 a.m.  I don’t get it.  Neither did Madre.  We were pretty stoked about the t-shirt and the free bagels, though, so we took off on the three mile jaunt.  Madre’s been hitting the walking pretty hard lately and she looks marvelous but walking with Madre is a bit of a challenge. 

See, Madre is 6’2”, and I’d guess about 6’1” of her are legs.  She has a long stride which makes it difficult to keep up with her.  While I’m pretty tall in my own right, I find myself doing this half jogging/walking/deep step thing to keep her pace which really tugs at my hamstrings.  It is an excellent workout but I could really use some of that stretching afterwards, you know, and some oxygen.  Yesterday, Madre walked/slightly jogged her second ever 5K and won first place for her age division!  I’m super proud of her but you know all those other participants were like, “Who is Leggy McStriderson up there?  She stole my trophy!  Heifer.”   Congrats, Mom!  Well done!

Now that I have you guys all sentimental about my family and my philanthropic good deeds, I need to ask a favor of you.  See, there is an event that I’ve been planning to do all year and this event will take place during the entire month of November.  That means I will have very little time to visit with you here and entertain you with my big sexy hair and my mad skills as a handyperson.

Have you heard of NaNoWriMo?  It’s a one month writing frenzy in which you challenge yourself to write 50,000 words.  They don’t have to make sense or fit perfectly although it would be nice if they did.   They just have to be done.  And I’m going to do it.  Did you know that 50,000 words is approximately the length of a third of a novel?  Some of you know this already, but I write a lot here to practice for other writing things that I really want to do, like a novel for example.  (This is the point where all of you rush to comment section to offer support and promise to purchase anything of mine that ever gets published.)  I’ve started four novels/books so I very much want to see if I have it in me to do this, to actually finish one.

The thing is, I don’t want my blog to be silent for a whole month.  I want there to be some activity here.  I’m asking you, my faithful readers, to blog for me.  Can I get some of you to guest post?  I have a list of items I am willing to trade for your prose. 

In return for your post, I am willing to offer any or all of the following:  my share of Channing Tatum (his neck is too wide for me); my share of Ryan Gosling (his neck is too long for my tastes); my share of any and all sushi (ugh, gross); my share of all onions (we have covered this); my share of Adam Levine (he looks a bit like a weasel); an eyelash flutter (I have some great new mascara); and/or finally, a full grown cat named Murphy.   I will also generously throw in some Big Sexy Hair volumizer to sweeten the deal.

For the record, I already have a guest post from Boss and a promise of one from Prom Date Will.  That leaves 28 open spots for the rest of you.  So, Freddie, Lorne (Ty), Martie, The Squirt, Woney, Studio Bukowski – any of  you up for the challenge?  Anyone else?  I hear Channing Tatum has some pretty sweet abs. 

Then, because I know how much you guys will miss me, in the month of December I’m going to go for NaBloPoMo.  It was supposed to be the challenge in November for bloggers but since I like to march to the beat of my own drum, I felt like it could be your reward for letting me have a month off. 

I look forward to the influx of comments/volunteers.  Holding my breath actually.  Don’t make me pass out. 

Happy Belated Birthday, Kindle! Now With More Photos.

Kindle had a birthday on Monday.  I wanted to write for her then but I had to be mad about my physical first, plus I had just written another birthday post and I was a little woozy from all that sugar so many days in a row. 

I work with Kindle.  She was a surprise, much like Freddie was, when I moved to a new company.  I had no idea a Kindle even existed but she’s turned out to be one of my greatest assets in the friend world.  When I went through a nasty breakup, she was there for me every day.  I would come to work with eyes that looked like two peas in snow, I was so puffy from the crying. The thing is, we didn’t know each other well because we were new to each other yet she would take one look at my wonky eyes and say, “You okay?  You need to talk? Want an ice pack?”  She’s very matter of fact and she won’t let me get away with crying for long.  It’s perfect. 

It also helps that on particularly bad days, she would send me this picture.   

So I give her this one in return for her birthday.  Happy Birthday, Kindle!  Meow!

Also, some of our other friends wrote guest posts for you. 

Kindle

 K is for the kindness she always offers

I is for indigo (I like purple)

N is for the nice things she does for everyone

D is for the dozens of people she makes smile every day

L is for the love she spreads

E is for everyone who is lucky enough to meet her. 

The first time I met Kindle she talked to me without hesitation.  She’s always been friendly, warm, and kind to me from the start.  It was no problem being friends with her instantly.  Have a wonderful burfday!!!! 

Hugs,

Spike (Editor’s note: totally new character.  You’ll hear more of her later.) 

I so enjoy working with my cubicle buddy back here in this black hole of an abyss that is known, only in select circles, as Transportation.  We have certainly had our share of trying to solve the world’s problems, and the company’s as well.  And thanks for being that occasional listening ear and YOU ARE WELCOME for the times you’ve needed me to do the same.  And I won’t even go into all the craziness about the “blonde one” they call Jimmie!  There’s not enough medication on this planet to correct “all” that is wrong there!  LOL.  

Hugs,

Felix

Kindle is a rock!  Regardless of what is going on in her life, she is a steady place that you can depend on.  Some days she’s the smack in the ass you need to get back on the playing field, and some days she’s just an ear to sound off to.  She’s the welcome break in the middle of the work day when she stops by my desk just to say hi and shoot the breeze for a minute.  And she never asks for anything in return. 

You all may remember the amazing blueberry cake that Jimmie made for my birthday last year.  It looked a lot like this…

 

But tasted amazing!  You may or may not know that Jimmie and I share a fondness for baking, and sometimes take turns baking our coworkers and good friends’ birthday cakes.  Kindle’s request this year was the amazing blueberry cake…the very same one that Jimmie made for my birthday last year that looked like this… 

 

Kindle, my gift to you is this: I will make the same cake that Jimmie made for my birthday, but I’m going to up the ante a little and whip the hell out of the frosting like Jimmie was supposed to do, so that instead of your cake looking like this…

 

Your cake will look like this…

 

Hugs,

Freddie

The Box Of Chocolates Post

I got an email from Dammit Todd about my latest post. It needs to be shared.

Dear Jimmie –

1) I’m never hunting squirrels in your home town, especially if they really can be considered to be a big animal, such as a deer.

2) Your makeover pic is definitely being termed “Eye of the Tigger” in my book…

My makeover, courtesy of Tigger

Love, Dammit Todd

When Woney and I were in the Mexico port on our cruise, we got on this bus tour thing. Time has passed and I’m slightly fuzzy on the details now that I’ve slept. Anyway, the tour guide spoke fantastic English although slightly accented, and this is the thing he said that I remember most, mostly because he was calm and dead serious.

“Jyoo can go to the open air flea market and buy lots of silber, leather, wool. Lots of stuff. Jyoo can get handbags, belts, hats, whips. <shrug> Jyoo on bacation.”

An open letter to Tony, Woney’s trainer.

Dear Tony, oh ye of the chiclet teeth, giant arms, positive attitude and Navy Uniform which you refused to wear for me no matter how much I really, really wanted you to or how much I wheezed when I ran to show you that I was serious about the workout –

I heard that you made Woney flip over a bunch of tractor tires as part of her training for her Sheryl Crow arms. I hate to tell you, Tony, but you live in CALIFORNIA. Tractors just don’t really seem indigenous to CALIFORNIA and I’ll bet people snickered behind your back.

However, they do seem to be indigenous to TENNESSEE, where I live. I do believe that here in Nashville we even lay claim to a country music singer who writes songs about how tractors are sexy (Yes, it is a great source of embarrassment for many TENNESSEE natives, one of which is me. Was that Kenny Chesney? Cause if so, he should be strung up by his toenails and tortured mercilessly. Anway . . . .) Tractors and their tires belong here and honestly, I could use some Sheryl Crow arms myself.

I propose an idea. Tony, you come here (and bring Woney) with your tractor tires (and your uniform), and we can flip tractor tires all day long and no one will think it is weird at all. Maybe you can meet Kenny Chesney. And later we can check you for ticks. Deal? Deal.

Smooches,

Jimmie

A Guest Post, by Murphy

People. Tell The Smushy One that the garage is not outside! Frick.

It appears that Christmas is upon us. One of my neighbors put up the whole Clark Griswold-themed light show in their yard Halloween weekend and since then has been blazing the trail nightly in their quest for the Christmas Spirit.

I put my tree up this past weekend and wondered what the cats would do to it. The first year the kitties were with me, I had the tree up but Seamus hid under the bed all the time and Murphy was too busy digging in my cabinets and in the bathroom to notice it. Last year the tree didn’t make it off of the garage shelf.  This year I fully expected Murphy to tear it to shreds or at the very least, pee on it.

Instead, every day when I come home I see this:

Seamus is in love with that tree. He makes a running leap, slides onto the tree skirt and skids across it like he’s sliding into home base. Then he’ll lump himself up underneath the tree skirt and “hide”, except his butt is so big it sticks out. I find new ornaments on the floor every day and I’ve noticed that more and more of my lights on my pre-lit tree are going out. I’m going to have a non-lit tree before it’s over with.

Murphy with the tree:

Meh. It'll do.

Seamus with the tree:

You touch this and I will kill you.

That’s it. Chocolate gone. The end. 

(In case you now need a chocolate fix, all those images came from Godiva.  Just remember me when you go buy some.)

A Guest Post, By Murphy

Okay, people, we need to have a word about the Smushy One.  I need for you to talk to her for me.  She’s gettin’ all weird about me going outside.  I’m a grown cat.  I need to roam free.  I need my space.  There are also some ladies that require attention and quite frankly, they get irritable when I don’t make our dates.  It’s enough to drive a cat to drink.   

That guy who lived here, the one with the Quivery Dog, used to let me out all the time, and I gotta tell ya, I got a taste for it.  I spend an awful lot of time telling the Smushy One about it, too, like for hours.  She ignores me, though, and won’t open the door no matter how much I claw at it or how loud I get.  Sometimes when she opens the door, I’ll make a mad rush and get free but the Smushy One gets real grimace-y when that happens.  Usually I puke up some grass on her carpet afterwards, to show her who the boss is around here.  She yells a lot when that happens. Man, those are good days. 

Also, while we are on the subject, can you tell her that I really need the whole bed to myself?  I mean, I’m ten pounds.  I need my space.  I’m particularly interested in the pillows right now but she insists on hogging the one that I want, all the time.  Seeing as how I’m not sure which one I want every night, though, she should just give them all to me.  Tell her that, okay? Lately I’ve taken to spreading out over both of them, right in the middle and I think she’s finally getting a clue.   

And while you are talking to her, make her leave my face alone.  I like the dirt.  It gives me a rakish air that drives the dames wild.  She keeps cleaning it off and I tell her, “I’m a grown cat.  I need my space.  Leave it alone.” But she doesn’t listen.  It’s exhausting.

Don’t make her too upset, though.  I heard rumors of a tree being put up with lots of clanky glass balls on it.  I want that tree!  I’ve got a hankering to climb one and since she won’t let me outside . . .  

Mrow.

Murph

Life Without Jimmie, A Guest Post By Freddie

Hi Guys!  Did anyone miss me?  Did anyone notice that I was gone?  I was, for a whole week.  Please tell me you noticed . . . In my absence, Freddie wrote a guest post for you.  It made me cry and laugh and be especially glad that I was home.  I was glad anyway (I am quite fond of my bed, you know), but coming home to good friends is always the best part. 

When the reality hit me that Jimmie was going to be gone for a whole week, I started to worry what my life was going to be like for that week.  It’s been a while since I had to go more than a couple of days without her witty rapport.  I decided to make the best of this situation and work on a guest post for Jimmie’s blog.  Here goes!

Day #1 without Jimmie – Things Jimmie Taught Me

I went to a Making Strides for Breast Cancer walk and had my cell phone and keys in hand.  As I was trying to determine whether I wanted to carry them the whole walk or put them in the car, I remembered some valuable knowledge Jimmie imparted onto me on one of our runs that we did last year: How to use your sports bra as a purse!  I quickly proceeded to drop my keys down the front of my sports bra.  Later in the walk, when I got tired of carrying my cell phone, I shoved it down the side of my bra.  Thank you, Jimmie!  We missed you on the walk!

Day #2 without Jimmie – Don’t touch my cookies!

As I was looking around to determine what I wanted to be for Halloween, I came across the following costume, appropriately (or inappropriately, depending on how well you know Jimmie) title “Don’t Touch my Cookies”:

‘Nough said!

Day #3 without Jimmie – Dammit Jimmie!

Jimmie has been teaching me recently the art of eye makeup.  I’ve always worn eye makeup in the past, but recently, I’ve been stuck in a rut.  One day, while inquiring about the particularly lovely shade of eye shadow that Jimmie was wearing, she suggested that she go with me to buy some of my very own.  We made a trip to the local Rite Aid and found the exact brand and shade that she had.  She then proceeded to persuade me to purchase a set of brushes to help apply the eye shadow.  I’ve never owned brushes before; I’ve just used the brushes that came in the eye shadow, so this was a new experience for me.  After some very careful explanation of how to apply the shadows using the brushes, we parted ways and I smiled all the way home with the delight that I, too, would soon have shimmery blue and pink eyelids!  Well, over the weekend, I purchased some eye shadows in shades of grey (yes, I may be addicted).  I’m wearing my amazing new eye shadow today, and while I would normally go by Jimmie’s desk to flaunt my newest purchase and thank her profusely for re-introducing me to the world of fun eye shades, she’s on a cruise…in the Pacific Ocean…and she will not get to enjoy being the first to compliment me on my new smokey grey eye lids.  Dammit Jimmie!

Day #4 without Jimmie – The Walk-By

Jimmie’s desk is between my desk and the front door, front stairs, bathroom, many of the important things in my work day, and my desk happens to be between Jimmie’s desk and the printer and break room, important things in her work day.  Needless to say, we pass each other’s desks several times throughout the day.  Most of the times that I walk by, I make faces, do a little dance or one of the other things that may make Jimmie smile, laugh, or even stop her work to chat for a bit.  Jimmie doesn’t need such excuses to visit my workspace.  She simply walks in and plops right down on my desk with her semi-JLo bootay and proceeds to tell me fun stories about her weekend or fun things that Tigger and Pooh have done lately or any other tales that might come up.  It’s a part of my life that I have come to expect, love, and appreciate, and while I have other coworkers who I enjoy spending time with, none of them compare to the walk-bys that Jimmie and I share.

Day #5 without Jimmie – You’re so Pretty!

Today was not a great day.  It was rainy and cold and that is not a good combination when it’s been 80 degrees outside!  Going from highs in the 80s to highs in the 50s within a few days is kind of awful.  Add a little PMS to that, and you have a recipe for an awful day.  Most days like this, Jimmie and I wear our sparkly eyeliner and tell each other how pretty we look.  I really missed that today!  No matter what’s going on in our day or how horrible someone just talked to us or treated us, those three little words make everything all better.  Jimmie, I know that you’re loving life way out in the ocean, and you’re so pretty!

Day #6 without Jimmie – Would the Social Director Please Report to the Poop Deck?

It hit me today that I haven’t heard from Felix or Kindle for a couple of days…actually, the only time I’ve seen Felix since Jimmie was gone was when I insisted that we go to lunch on Tuesday.  Jimmie just happens to be the glue that holds us all together…literally!  Jimmie talks to all of us and then tells the others what everyone else is doing.  Then, there are the times that Jimmie invites Kindle upstairs to visit and she stops by my cube or I find Felix chilling in Jimmie’s cube talking.  Regardless, without Jimmie, we don’t talk.  It’s weird.  She’s our coordinator, better yet, she’s our social director.  Things turn to shit when she’s not there.  So…would the social director please report to the poop deck immediately?  There’s a desperate need for your attention.

Day #7 without Jimmie – I Caved

I couldn’t resist any longer.  I texted Jimmie.  The conversation went something like this:

Me: Are you back yet?

Jimmie: Just got back to port.

Me: Really??  Oh, thank goodness!  I missed you so much!  Blah! Blah!  Blah! Blah! Blah!

I may have been a little excited to make contact again.  It’s amazing when you see someone every day for so long and suddenly they’re gone for a week, and it makes you realize how much of your life they were filling.  It’s no wonder I caved!

Day #8 without Jimmie – The Return of Jimmie

Jimmie came back today!  Well tonight.  I know, because Ian posted a picture of me in my Halloween costume tonight.  The costume was a ringmaster costume like this

except I had tights like these to make it a little more comical:

So, when the comment popped up from Jimmie asking what I was wearing, it was understandable.  Plus, it means that Jimmie’s back!  Woohoo!  Welcome home, Jimmie!  We missed you! 

For the record, I missed my friends awfully.  It’s possible that I was slightly teary-eyed when I got home.   And I’ll have my own recap of the trip as soon as I get my thoughts organized.  It’s hard to use your brain after having been so lazy. 

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